Braille Formats
Principles of Print to Braille Transcription



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  • Rule 1
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  • Rule 15
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  • Rule 18
  • Rule 19

  • Rule 17

    Illustrations, Captions, Cartoons, Print Forms, Genealogical and Organizational Charts, Time Lines, Graphs, and Tactile Graphics

    1. General provisions Although the student may have access in the classroom to tactile materials, such as large-scale maps and life-size biological models, the importance of including tactile reproductions of other kinds of illustrations provided in the print text cannot be emphasized too strongly.

      Other sections of this Code rule contain provisions for particular types of illustrations, as follows.

      Cartoons, Section 3
      Genealogical charts, Section 6a
      Graphs, Section 9
      Maps, Section 5
      Miscellaneous charts and diagrams, Section 7
      Organizational charts, Section 6b
      Print forms, Section 4
      Tactile graphics, Section 10
      Time lines, Section 8

      1. When there is uncertainty about the braille presentation of print illustrations or about the wording of their explanations, it is recommended that a copy of the teacher's edition be obtained and/or that a textbook format braille specialist be consulted.

      2. Illustrations in technical texts. Follow the provisions given in Rule 1, Section 1a(1)(d) for the transcription of illustrations in technical texts.

      3. Placement of illustrations

          (1) Usually an illustration should be inserted as close as possible to corresponding discussion in the text. If an appropriate location is not apparent, place it at the end of the page on which it is printed.

          (2) When it is necessary to move an illustration from its position in the print text, insert a transcriber's note at the original position giving the page number of the new location. A second transcriber's note must be inserted before the illustration at its new location stating the page number of its position in the print text.

      4. Illustration headings and labels

          (1) When a heading is shown with an illustration follow the provisions given in Rule 4, Section 1b.

          (2) An illustration label may consist of a heading or title with a number or the word Figure (or Fig.) followed by a number and a title.

          (3) Follow the print copy for the numbering of illustrations in accordance with Rule 4, Section 1b(7) or if decimal or double numeration is used, see Rule 5, Section 6b.

          (4) If a caption is also shown, see Section 2 below.

      5. Transcribing information shown in an illustration. Whenever tactile presentation of an illustration is not possible and it contains information needed by the reader that is not given in the text, observe the following general directives.

          (1) If the illustration shows a label and/or caption, this identification must be presented first using the appropriate formats given in Section 1d above and in Section 2 below.

          (2) Insert a transcriber's note stating that the illustration shown in the text is not reproduced but that information it contains is given in the braille edition. State how the information is to be given, i.e., in paragraph form, as a list, an outline, or in any other form appropriate to the text.

          (3) Insert the closing transcriber's note symbol before beginning to present information from the illustration.

      6. Descriptions of illustrations. When a description, identification, or explanation of an illustration or series of illustrations is inserted in the braille edition instead of tactile reproduction(s), these insertions must be brailled as transcriber's notes.

          (1) A description, identification, or explanation must be preceded by the transcriber's note symbol starting in cell 7, followed by the illustration label (e.g., Figure 14, Fig. 9.3) or the appropriate word, i.e., Picture, Map, Diagram, and a colon. The description or explanation must follow on the same braille line with runovers in cell 5.

          (2) Description or explanation of the print illustration should be as brief and concise as possible. Use vocabulary appropriate to the grade level and subject matter of the text.

          (3) Unless required by other braille formats no blank line must be left before or after a description or explanation or between a series of these items, which should be brailled as consecutive paragraphs in a single transcriber's note.

      7. Omission of illustrations. When an illustration is unrelated to the text or when information in the illustration is given in its caption or in the narrative body of the text, the illustration should be omitted.

          (1) See Rule 2, Section 7c(6) when illustrations that are listed in the table of contents are omitted in the braille edition.

          (2) If all illustrations in a text or all of a particular type of illustration are to be omitted, as when all the photographs in print text are omitted, include a statement to this effect on the Transcriber's Notes page(s).

          (3) When notice of omitted illustrations is required infrequently in the braille text, insert a transcriber's note at each point of omission.

          (4) In a text in which illustrations are sequentially numbered and only certain ones are reproduced in the braille edition, transcriber's notes must be inserted at the point of each omission giving the number of the illustration that is note reproduced.

          (5) If it is not possible to reproduced an illustration tactilely or to provide a description of it, as when an exercise contains pictures of a dog and a cat and the words dog and cat are the answers sought, insert a transcriber's note similar to the following.

          Pictures are not reproduced.

      8. Pictured items to be counted. If the reader is directed to count the number of items shown in an illustration that is not tactilely reproduced, insert a transcriber's note to identify the arbitrary braille symbol(s) used for this purpose. A blank cell must be left between the symbols. However, when items to be counted are shown in groups in the print text, three blank cells must separate groups of unspaced braille symbols.

    2. Illustration captions. An illustration caption consists of any statement that is shown accompanying an illustration or its label.

      1. A caption must be preceded on the same braille line by the illustration label beginning in cell 7 with runovers in cell 5. If no label is shown, insert the appropriate identification, i.e., Picture, Map, Diagram, beginning in cell 7 and followed by colon, with runovers in cell 5.

      2. Special print typefaces used for the label or in the body of a caption must be ignored except when required for emphasis or distinction.

      3. Unless required by other braille formats do not leave a blank line before or after a caption or between caption or between captions in a series.

      4. When a description, identification, or explanation is needed in addition to print caption, it must be inserted as a transcriber's note placed where most appropriate, before or after the caption.

    3. Cartoons

      1. No blank lines must be left before or after a cartoon except when required by other braille formats. Do not leave blank lines between the frames or panels of a single cartoon nor between individual cartoons when a series of them is shown.

      2. The word Cartoon followed by a colon must start in cell 7. On the same braille line place the cartoon title and artist's name, followed by the date and copyright information, if given and legible. Begin runovers in cell 5.

      3. Often it is useful to insert a brief scene setting before presenting the actual cartoon. Braille this material as a transcriber's note starting in cell 7 on the line below the word Cartoon, with runovers in cell 5.
      4. When the dialogue, actions, or facial expressions of cartoon characters convey necessary information, observe the following.

          (1) Transcribe dialogue according to Rule 9, Section 1b, using cell 5 as the left margin and cell 7 for the runovers of dialogue.

          (2) Descriptions of the actions or facial expressions of characters who are engaged in dialogue should be treated as stage directions, not as transcriber's notes. This material must be enclosed in parentheses. It may be placed before the colon inserted after the name or identification of a character, or it may be placed within the dialogue.

      5. Single-frame cartoons. Captions of single-frame cartoons that contain dialogue and/or require description must be placed after the completion of dialogue or following the description. The word Caption, followed by a colon, must start in cell 7 on a new braille line with runovers in cell 5.

      6. Cartoon strip. To designate the frames or panels in a cartoon strip, the word Picture must start in cell 7, followed by the appropriate number and a colon.

    4. Print forms. For the purposes of this Code section, a print form is defined as any printed or typed document that shows a prescribed or set order of words, phrases, or ruled lines designed either to give information to the reader (e.g., library reference cards, sales tags, tickets of admission) or to get information from the reader (e.g., order blanks, registration forms, tax returns).

      1. Do not reproduce print forms that are of no practical value or use to the reader, i.e., forms that are included in a textbook merely for visual interest. In such cases, it is sufficient to insert transcriber's notes to identify the print forms and/or to briefly describe them.

      2. When the print form itself has no bearing on full use of the text, but its contents are needed, insert a transcriber's note stating that the form is not being reproduced but information shown in the form is given in the braille edition.

      3. If numbers and/or letters are used to identify items in a print form, it may be preferable to ignore the print format and to present the material in indented outline form as provided in Rule 7, Section 3c(1), or as numbered and lettered items according to Rule 13, Section 7.

      4. Skeleton diagram technique. The technique that is described below may be used to reproduce print forms of varying size and complexity by dividing them into sections that will fit on the braille page.

          (1) Make a skeleton drawing of the entire form that approximates the proportions of the print form. Follow the provisions given in Rule 15, Sections 3b(2)(b) and (c) for lines and spacing.

          (2) Before the skeleton diagram insert an appropriate transcriber's note such as the following.

          Text shows facsimile of a _____ that cannot be reproduced in braille. Below is a skeleton drawing showing how the print form is divided into sections in braille. On succeeding pages are detailed drawings of each of the sections with items shown on the print form.

          (3) Each section must be labeled clearly in braille using numbers or letters.

    5. Maps. Textbooks contain many kinds of maps and tactile presentation of a particular map may not be possible or useful. When a map is not reproduced tactilely, careful examination of its contents must be made to determine if information it contains that is not given in the narrative text is valuable to the reader. When that information is of value to the reader it must be transcribed according to Section 1e above.

    6. Genealogical charts and organizational charts

        (1) Genealogical charts

          (2) Small and simple genealogical charts may be presented tactilely following the provisions given for lines and spacing in Rule 15, Sections 3b(2)(b) and (c).

        1. It is recommended that larger more complex genealogical charts should be transcribed using either the indented list format given in Rule 7, Section 2c or as an outline indented as provided in Rule 7, Section 3c(1).

      1. Organizational charts. For the purposes of this Code section, an organizational chart is a diagram of the structure and/or personnel of an organization in which the principle parts of functions are represented by blocks connected by lines to show hierarchical rank or interrelationships.

        Note: Even though they may be identified in the text as organizational charts, any diagrams in which different shapes of blocks or boxes are shown connected by various kinds of lines and/or arrows for the purpose of showing the sequential steps and/or results of a process or program are to be considered as flowcharts. Such diagrams must be transcribed in accordance with the Computer Braille Code Supplement, Flowchart Design for Applicable Braille Codes.

          (1) Small and simple organizational charts may be presented tactilely, following the provisions given for lines and spacing in Rule 15, Sections 3b(2)(b) and (c).

          (2) It is recommended that larger more complex organizational charts should be transcribed using either the indented list format given in Rule 7, Section 2c or as outline indented as provided in Rule 7, Section 3c(1).

    7. Miscellaneous charts and diagrams

      1. Small, simple carts and diagrams may be presented tactilely following provisions in Rule 15, Sections 3b(2)(b) and (c) for lines and spacing.

      2. It is recommended that larger more complex charts and diagrams should be transcribed either as columns of line-by-line related items according to Rule 7, Section 1f or using the indented list format provided in Rule 7, Section 2c.

    8. Time lines

      1. Tactile graphic presentation should be used for simple time lines wherever possible.

      2. It is recommended that complex time lines be transcribed vertically as lists. Starting with the earliest date shown in cell 1 followed after one blank cell by the event shown associated with that date in the text. Runovers must start in cell 3. If more than one event is shown with dates in a time line, begin each date in cell 1, each event in cell 3, and all runovers in cell 5.

    9. Graphs

      1. The transcription of graphs shown in mathematical or technical texts must be in accordance with the provisions given in Rule 1, Section 1a(1)(d).

      2. Simple bar graphs shown in general textbooks may be transcribed as provided below.

          (1) Each whole unit shown in the print graph should be represented by the symbol dots 123456.

          (2) To represent fractional parts, i.e., tenths of a unit, use the numerals 1 through 9, brailled without the number indicator and unspaced after the required number of unspaced whole unit symbols.

          (3) Sometimes it is possible to fit a wide bar graph across the braille page by interchanging the vertical and horizontal print arrangement. This should be done only if it preserves the clarity of the graph and, when it is done, a transcriber's note must be inserted before the graph to explain the rearrangement.

    10. Tactile graphics. Instruction in the tactile presentation of illustrations is outside the scope of this Code. Preparation of such material should be undertaken only after study of production methods or, ideally, by a specialist in this area.

      Simple lines and boxes can be produced by careful selection of braille symbols. However, it is preferable that lines be drawn with a spur wheel or other special tool, or that they be formed by means of collage. Young readers, in particular, have difficulty distinguishing a graphic line consisting of braille dots from a line of braille text meant to be read. It is recommended that a tactile graphics specialist and/or the special education teacher be consulted about the appropriateness of graphics composed of braille dots.